Posts Tagged ‘Perception’

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Dogs Smell Time

July 1, 2014

Can you smell time? Your dog can.

On a very basic level, so can you: When you crack the lid on that old quart of milk, tentatively sniff and—peeyouu!—promptly dump that foul stuff down the sink, you are, in effect, smelling time. Specifically, you can smell that far too much time has elapsed since that milk was fresh.

But a dog can smell time with a sophistication that puts our simple sniffers to shame. “Odors exist in time, and dogs perceive that,” explains cognitive scientist and canine researcher Alexandra Horowitz of Columbia University. “Dogs use smell to ‘tell time,’ in some sense, because a more recently laid odor smells stronger, and an older odor smells weaker.”

A dog’s nose is a notoriously sensitive piece of equipment. With up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to our lousy 5 million, a dog can detect a single teaspoon of sugar dissolved into a million gallons of water, the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Unlike us, dogs are able to take in scent continuously, even as they exhale. What’s more, a dog’s nostrils are smaller than the distance between them, effectively giving dogs “stereo” sniffing power that carries subtle grades of information, including directionality.

Read full article at Strange Attractor

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Seeing In The Pitch-Dark Is All In Your Head

November 8, 2013

A few years ago, cognitive scientist Duje Tadin and his colleague Randolph Blake decided to test blindfolds for an experiment they were cooking up.

They wanted an industrial-strength blindfold to make sure volunteers for their work wouldn’t be able to see a thing. “We basically got the best blindfold you can get.” Tadin tells Shots. “It’s made of black plastic, and it should block all light.”
Tadin and Blake pulled one on just to be sure and waved their hands in front of their eyes. They didn’t expect to be able to see, yet both of them felt as if they could make out the shadowy outlines of their arms moving.
Being scientists, they wondered what was behind the spooky phenomenon. “We knew there wasn’t any visual input there,” Tadin says. They figured their minds were instinctively filling in images where there weren’t any.

After conducting several experiments involving computerized eye trackers, they proved themselves right. Between 50 and 75 percent of the participants in their studies showed an eerie ability to “see” their own bodies moving in total darkness. The research, put together by scientists at the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University, is published in the journal Psychological Science.

How were they so sure? “The only way you can produce smooth eye movements is if you’re following a target,” Tadin tells Shots. When our eyes aren’t tracking something very specific, they tend to jerk around randomly. “If you just try to make your eyes move smoothly, you can’t do it.” The researchers used this knowledge to test whether people could really distinguish their hand movements in the dark.

Text and Image via Neuromorphogenesis

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The Role of Bodily Perception in Emotion: In Defense of an Impure Somatic Theory

July 14, 2013

In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz’s (2004) pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz’s theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems—i.e., it gets the neural correlates of emotion wrong, it isn’t able to distinguish emotions from bodily perceptions that aren’t emotions, it cannot account for emotions being directed towards particular objects, and it mischaracterizes emotion phenomenology. We argue that our theory accounts for the empirical evidence considered by Prinz and solves the problems faced by his theory. In particular, we maintain that our theory gives a unified and principled account of the relation between emotions and bodily perceptions, the intentionality of emotions, and emotion phenomenology.

READ HERE

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Eidos – Sensory Augmentation Equipment

May 13, 2013

Eidos consists of two pieces of experimental equipment that give you superhuman sight and hearing.

Eidos Vision enhances the way we see motion, while Eidos Audio lets us hear speech more selectively.

Eidos has broad application in areas where live audio and video analysis is valuable. For example, sportspeople can visualise and improve technique in real time. Eidos also has healthcare benefits where it can be used to boost or refine sensory signals weakened by ageing or disability. In the arts, Eidos can augment live performance such as ballet, fashion or music concerts. It allows us to highlight previously invisible or inaudible details, opening up new and customisable experiences.

Text and Image Via Tim Bouckley

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The Decelerator Helmet and the world in slow motion

November 22, 2012

The ‘Decelerator Helmet’ by German artist Lorenz Potthast offers an experimental approach to an essential subject of our globalized world. the technical reproducible senses are consigned to an apparatus which allows the user to perceive the world in slow motion. The stream of time as an apparently invariant constant is broken and subjected under the users control.

Processed by a small computer, the helmet uses a video-signal of a camera to slow down the stream seen via a head-mounted display and simultaneously shown at a monitor on the outside. the idea to decouple the personal perception from the natural timing enables the user to get aware about his own relationship to time. working as a ‘reflection-bubble, the helmet bridges relations between sensory perception, while disrupting the environment.

The technique of the decelerator extends the awareness of time and transforms the concept of present in a constructed, artificial state. On a different level, it dramatically visualizes how slowing down under all circumstances causes a loss of actuality and as idea is inconsistent with our surroundings.

Text and Image via designboom

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MIRAGE: Performance Art with Substitutional Reality system

August 30, 2012


Substitutional Reality system could be used to study cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric patients.

Christopher Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster Inception is set in a distant future where military technology enables one to infiltrate and surreptitiously alter other people’s dreams. Leonardo Di Caprio plays Dom Cobb, an industrial spy tasked with planting an idea into the mind of a powerful businessman. The film has a complex, layered structure: Cobb and the other characters create dreams within dreams within dreams, but they cannot distinguish between reality and the dream states they fabricate.

Most of us distinguish between real and imagined events using unconscious processes to monitor the accuracy of our experiences. But these processes can break down in some psychiatric conditions. Patients with schizophrenia, for example, can experience auditory and visual hallucinations that they believe are real, while some brain damaged and delusional patients live in a world of perpetual false memories. Japanese researchers have developed an “Inception helmet” that manipulates reality to simulate such experiences, and could be used to study cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.

The Substitutional Reality (SR) system, developed by researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute’s Laboratory for Adaptive Intelligence, is made of cheap, commercially available electronic components: a panoramic video camera used for recording, a computer for storing the recorded footage, and a head-mounted visual display that can switch seamlessly between the recorded footage and a live feed captured by a camera and microphone attached to it.

Excerpt of an article by Mo Constandi at The Guardian. Continue HERE
Image and video via MIRAGE

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What Time Is It on Your Circadian Clock?

August 30, 2012

Are you a morning lark or a night owl? Scientists use that simplified categorization to explain that different people have different internal body clocks, commonly called circadian clocks. Sleep-wake cycles, digestive activities, and many other physiological processes are controlled by these clocks. In recent years, researchers have found that internal body clocks can also affect how patients react to drugs. For example, timing a course of chemotherapy to the internal body time of cancer patients can improve treatment efficacy and reduce side effects.

But physicians have not been able to exploit these findings because determining internal body time is, well, time consuming. It’s also cumbersome. The most established and reliable method requires taking blood samples from a patient hourly and tracking levels of the hormone melatonin, which previous research has tied closely to internal body time.

Excerpt of an article written by Dennis Normile, Science AAAS. Continue HERE